Feature Article: Population by Country of Birth
Australia has a long history of overseas migration flows which has resulted in a consistently large proportion of residents having been born overseas. As at 30 June 2003, more than one in five (23%) persons resident in Australia were born overseas. Persons born in the United Kingdom continued to be the largest overseas-born group with 1.1 million residents in Australia, followed by those born in New Zealand (428,000), Italy (231,600), Viet Nam (174,600) and China (173,100).
Five per cent of the overseas-born population were aged under 15 years, compared with 25% of the Australian-born population. Some 77% of overseas-born Australian residents were aged in the prime working age-group of 15-64 years, compared with 64% of the Australian-born population. Also, 18% of overseas-born Australian residents were 65 years and over, while Australian-born residents in this age-group constituted 11% of the total Australian-born population.
AGE AND SEX
At 30 June 2003, the age distribution of overseas-born Australian residents was considerably older than that of the Australian-born population. This is to be expected as most people migrate as adults. Persons born in Australia comprised 95% of those aged under 15 years, 73% of those aged 15-64 and 66% of those aged 65 years and over.
Of the total male population in Australia aged 65 years and over, 36% were born overseas. Overseas-born females made up 31% of the total female population aged 65 years and over. The higher sex ratio for the older overseas born population is largely the result of male-dominated migration immediately following World War II.
At 30 June 2003, the sex ratio for all Australian residents was 98.7, that is, for every 100 females, there were 98.7 males. The sex ratio varied for the significant overseas-born birthplace countries, with a low of 53.8 for the Philippines, China (89.7), the United Kingdom (102.8), Italy (110.6), to a high of 113.7 from India.
Median Age, Sex Ratio and Population, Country of Birth - 30 June 2003
|Country of Birth(a)|
|Total Australian Residents|
|(a) This is the top ten country of birth list of overseas-born Australian residents.|
|(b) Number of males per 100 females.|
At 30 June 2003, the median age of all Australian residents was 36.2 years. The youngest median age of the top ten source countries of overseas-born Australian residents was South Africa, at 37.6 years. The oldest group was born in Italy with a median age of 63.4 years. Australian residents from the country that supplied the highest number of overseas-born residents, the United Kingdom, had a median age of 52.9 years.
In the period from 30 June 1998 to 30 June 2003, the South African born had the greatest rate of increase into Australia's estimated resident population. The average annual increase was 7.9% over this period with India having the next highest increase (5.8%). Other countries which have been growing quickly as countries of origin of Australian residents over this five-year period are New Zealand (with an average annual increase of 5.2%), China (5.1%) and South Korea (4.4%). These increases are mainly due to growth in permanent migration from these countries to Australia.
The United Kingdom remained the largest source of overseas-born people with over 1.1 million Australian residents having been born in that country. However, this number had decreased by 0.4% on average per year since 1998. Poland had the largest decrease as a birthplace of Australian residents in this five-year period of 1.9% averaged annually. This is largely the result of deaths among older Polish-born Australian residents.